||FC Seoul lifts the champioship trophy
|FC Seoul has become a bone fide champion of the K-league.
On 5th, Seoul crashed the Jeju United 2-1 in the second round of the K-league championship match held in the Seoul World Cup Stadium to lift the long-aspired trophy.
After having a 2-2 tie in the first round, Seoul added another two scores to win the championship with the 4-3 of overall score. Seen rejoicing were a group of 56, 769 fans who visited and warmed the stadium despite the uninvitingly cold weather condition.
The last time Seoul earned the league championship was 10 years ago, and in fact it is the first time for the team to lift the trophy since GS Group was launched. Much credit should be reserved for owner Heo Chang-su who has unsparingly backed and supported his team putting it on the top priority.
Having won the 18th consecutive win on its home ground, moreover, Seoul has accomplished another local sports industry record.
▲ Best in a true sense
In addition, Seoul has attracted more fans than any other local competitors have this season. It is fair to say that the team outstood both in and outside of the soccer field.
On May 5th, Seoul succeeded in attracting as many as 60, 747 fans, which is a local sport industry record, paving the way for the Korean football league to have an average 30,000-plus spectators per match. FC Seoul has also reached a milestone by gathering more than 500,000(546,397) soccer fans in a single season.
This overwhelming popularity of Seoul has not only polished the prestige of the K-league; it has proven that FC Seoul has become a team that practically represents the whole sports industry in Korea. Therefore the feat that Seoul has accomplished in 2010 is meaningful because it has played as a role model for the local sports teams.
Every season is bound to have its winner sifted out based on the performance, but it is hard to have a winner both in performance and popularity. That is why Seoul’s success is all the more meaningful.
▲Players who polished the name of FC Seoul
One big driving force behind Seoul’s momentum was the spirit of sacrifice. Instead of boasting of individual prowess, the members of FC Seoul devoted themselves to the team play. Indeed, Seoul has struck a fine balance between the offense and defense this season, but it didn’t hinge on any particular player. Every single player fulfilled their role in each position, perfectly dovetailing with one another. Moreover, source of scores became diversified as Lee Seong-ryul, Choi Tae-wuk, and Ha Dae-seong came to find the net much more often than before, and the offensive was further beefed up thanks to midfielder Djeparov who knows exactly when and where to pass the ball.
From midfielder Kim Han-yun and Choi Hyun-tae to goalie Kim Yong-dae and rookie Kim Dong-wu, every member of FC Seoul impeccably fulfilled their responsibility.
They united in the hopes of winning the championship and inspired
Seoul took a turning point this season when it recruited a number of players with rich experience. Until last year, Seoul had appeared not so adept at managing the crisis since it had too many young players, and by recruiting seasoned players such as Kim Yong-dae, Choi Hyo-jin, Hyun Yeong-min, and Ha Dae-seong, it has completely made up for such weakness. Those mentioned above were the model team players who valued their team more than each individual, creating a new atmosphere in the team. And the players were never reluctant to throw themselves for saving their team from crises which rendered Seoul far more pertinacious. All in all, the arrival of the veterans resulted in a harmonious team play between the old and new and struck a perfect balance between the offense and defense.
▲Infusion of Djaparov and Choi Tae-wuk
During the first half of this season, it always seemed that there was something missing in FC Seoul. And when the team brought in Djeparov and Choi Tae-wuk in the middle of the season, Seoul's roster finally became completed.
Djeparov, the awardee of the AFC Player of the Year, sharpened the edgy of Seoul's offensive with his pinpoint pass, wide sight on the field, and clever tactics. As a shrewd connector between offense and defense, the Uzbekistani midfielder made a great deal of contribution to his team. Choi, who recently came back to his original team in 7 years, has also added significant momentum for Seoul with his remarkable speed and a number of timely scores made just in the nick of time.
On a special note, Choi witnessed FC Seoul winning the championship 10 years ago with captain Park Yong-ho. Back then, the high school alumni played a minor part in the team’s success, but this time they have served as the cornerstones for FC Seoul achieving the feat once again.
▲Kudos for Adi, Dejan, and Jeong Jo-guk and special moment for coach Choi Yong-su
Of course, the existing members deserve much of the credit as well. Striker Jeong Jo-guk has had the best time of his career, having scored 9 goals since he became a father on Aug. 20th. In particular, Jeong saved his team when he miraculously pulled off the equalizer and decider in a row on Oct. 9th in a match against Gyeongnam. This season Jeong posted a double-digit score (13 goals and 4 assists) for the first time in 7 years since he received a rookie award in 2003.
Lee Seung-ryul did incredibly well too. As the only Seoul player who made it to the World Cup this summer, Lee demonstrated steady and hardy performance throughout the season, recording 10 goals and 6 assists.
Considered one of the best strikers in the K-league, Dejan also contributed to his team with his consistent performance. Despite being roundly targeted by the defenders, the Serbian striker pulled off a total of 19 goals and 10 assists.
Defender Adi’s struggle moved many hearts. When he was sidelined due to the unfortunate injury sustained on Oct. 9th, everyone thought he would not be able to come back until the season ends. His dauntless determination, however, made him rise again, and the Brazilian defender appeared in the championship match defying the skepticism. And with his earnest attitude and great affinity, Adi stood at the core of Seoul’s steadfast defense line.
It was also a siginificant moment for coach Choi Yong-su. As the legendary forward of FC Seoul, Mr.Choi won the MVP in 2000 when he led his team to mount the throne for the first time. After playing in the Japanese league several years, he came back to his team in 2006, only this time as coaching staff. Even though he was no longer in the center of the spotlight, the pleasure was still all his.
▲Unity between coach and players
The players' strong determination also was a great contributor. They were anxious for the championship more than ever and successfully united putting their team on a higher priority. New coaching staff deserves the credit for having managed the team impeccably; they also put a strong emphasis on collaboration rather than individual.
▲Fans, the biggest contributor
Of course, the biggest applause should go to the fans. They rooted for FC Seoul rain and shine, and the passionate support energized the Seoulites. At the Seoul stadium, an average of 30,000 fans could be seen every match, and it served as a terrific moral booster for Seoul and a terrible moral buster for the contender. If it had not been for the fans’ support, the 18 winning streaks would not have been possible. Even in away games, Seoul outstripped the opponent in the number of visiting fans.
After all, the fans deserve the biggest credit for Seoul’s success in the 2010 season.
▲Aiming for No.1 in Asia
Having connquered the local league, now FC Seoul is aiming to be the best Asian football club. Seoul is participating in the AFC Champions League next year and much determined to enhance Korean soccer’s status in Asia. As a team that represents the Korean soccer industry, FC Seoul will help promote the prestige of Korean soccer across Asia.